Best Iron Bull build - Dragon Age: Inquisition (DAI)
In this post, I will write about Iron Bull's best build in the Dragon Age Inquisition. He is a Captain of a mercenary group - Bull's Chargers. You will be able to hire him and his members to help the Inquisitor.
The objective of Reaver is to kill enemies. Due to this all of the skills suggested even if they look defensive are selected for this sole purpose.
To be honest Iron Bull was the hardest companion to build yet. I hope you will enjoy using it!
Important! The companion build is compatible with Nightmare difficulty, however, to pull it off correctly, be sure to have a good Inquisitor build
So let us get through it
Abilities level 1 - 10
At this point in the game, Iron Bull will be just an average warrior. No need to do anything fancy, have a few knockdown skills, some guard generation and that should be enough before you reach Reaver specialization
|1||Mighty Blow + Easy Target||A good early ability to deal damage and knock out enemies.|
|2||Grappling Chain||We take this ability for progression mainly|
|3||Crippling Blows||We take this ability for progression mainly|
|4||Coup De Grace||Deal additional damage against stunned and knocked down enemies|
|5||Horn of Valor + Fortifying Blast||With this ability, you will boost the party damage and also allow the group to gain guard per hit|
|6||Combat Roll + Coming Through||Extremely good ability early in the game for Iron Bull. He can roll through enemies dealing 500% of weapon damage in AOE.|
If you will have any points left invest them in the weapon tree that you use. Otherwise, this will be enough before you unlock Champion specialization for Blackwall at level 11.
Iron Bull Reaver build
This build is extremely difficult to pull off for it to fully work you will need these things:
- A good tank like Blackwall in the party
- Good gear for Iron Bull with sufficient Constitution
- Some micromanaging for Iron Bull
The idea is that we will start the build without the main Reaver skills. You should be taking them at level 16+ once you have good gear.
The problem with Iron Bull and Reaver is that AI is not smart enough to know how to manage your HP correctly when using Dragon Rage attack. For this reason, I will share tips on how to counteract this main problem.
Remember that you will need to respecialize skills before making this build
Abilities investment - detailed progression
IMPORTANT: Get relevant Amulet of Power for Iron Bull to maximize the number of ability points
In this section, I will go through all the skills and talents that need to be picked for this Iron Bull build in the Dragon Age Inquisition.
|1||Block and Slash||I personally do not think this ability is worthwhile. It can be useful in levels 12-16. however, a good tank like Blackwall can cover for that|
|2||Flow of Battle||Each critical hit will reduce the cooldown of kills by 1 second|
|3||Pommel Strike + Lightning Jab||A fast and cheap attack that deals 700% of weapon damage and stuns the enemy. A perfect ability for warrior|
|4||Challenge||We take it mainly for progression|
|5||Charging Bull + Gore and Trample||With this skill, you will ensure that Iron Bull could generate Guard fast at the start of the combat|
|6||Grappling Chain||We take this ability for progression mainly|
|7||Crippling Blows||We take this ability for progression mainly|
|8||Coup de Grace||Deal additional damage against stunned and knocked down enemies|
|9||Horn of Valor + Fortifying Blast||A crucial ability for this build. It will provide additional Guard generation for normal hits|
|10||Ring of Pain||This ability drains too much stamina, due to this we only take it for progression|
|11||Blood Frenzy||Increases your damage the less HP you have. It Will work well with Dragon Rage|
|12||Fervor||A close dead enemy will increase your damage by 30% for 5 seconds|
|13||Scenting Blood||You will get additional Speed and a critical chance bonus when the enemy has low hp.|
|14||Devour + Lifeblood/Consume||This ability will allow you to restore HP and do additional damage the less HP you have. Choose Lifeblood if you will use Dragon-Rage + Ravage. Otherwise, go for Consume upgrade if you use Dragon-Rage + Leashed Fury|
|15||Dragon-Rage + Ravage/Leashed Fury||The Signature ability of this build. It will use 2% of your HP instead of stamina and gain a bonus to damage the less HP you have. I recommend Ravage upgrade. However, if you see that Iron Bull dies often take Leashed Fury.|
|16||Mighty Blow||We take this ability mainly for progression|
|17||Shield-Breaker||Each critical hit will weaken enemy armor.|
If you have any points left feel free to put them anywhere else. However, I would say that the build is finished with the ones that I have listed above. At this point in-game, your party should be about level 21
Late game investments
These are abilities that you should take if you will have additional points left:
- Whirlwind + Clear a Path - boosts stamina regeneration for each two-handed weapon swing
- Hamstring + Deep Reserve - boosts stamina regeneration when it is below 50%
Stats and Attributes
In this section, I will go through stats that I recommend Iron Bull to prioritize when selecting equipment.
Level 11 - 15
This is the middle of the game, where you just acquire Reaver specialization. The most important part is getting Guard per hit.
- Guard * per hit - important stat, so that you would be able to always have a full Guard bar.
- Strength - increases your damage
- Constitution - increases your damage and life
At this point, you should have Iron Bull equipped with good gear. Due to this, we add additional stats that Iron Bull should get.
- Health Recovery - only take this if you will set Dragon Rage to preferred, otherwise, your generated Guard should be enough
- Critical Chance - will activate many of your passive abilities to reduce cooldowns
- Attack - increases overall Iron Bull damage output
- Strength - bonus to overall damage
- Constitution - increases overall HP pool. Important for this build so that Iron Bull would not die easily
- Critical Damage - this stat becomes important if you reach more than a 50% critical chance
Best Items and Equipment
This section will cover some item recommendations for Iron Bull
I suggest looking for Masterwork materials that give Guard on hit. These include materials like Fade-Touched Obsidian:
|Guard on Hit||Essential to have for this build, otherwise the Iron Bull may die too often||Fade-Touched Obsidian
Weapons - obtainable
|1||Single Incarnation||Available during the Trespasser DLC. It is quite a powerful axe. I suggest trying it out and seeing, as it has unique abilities|
|2||Demon's Advocate||Extremely powerful Maul, that makes enemies explode after they are killed. I prefer this one compared to the others.|
|3||Chromatic Greatsword||Similar to Prismatic Greataxe, you will randomly deal elemental damage together with physical damage. This weapon can last you until the end of the game. The sword makes this Reaper Two-Handed build especially powerful|
|4||Certainty||The sword gives a +36% Attack boost, this equates to an almost 72 strength bonus. This can be an alternative to the Chromatic Greatsword if you don't prefer its looks|
|5||Prismatic Greataxe||Due to the weapons mechanics, this weapon deals a bonus of 100% elemental damage. So with a skill like Pommel Strike, you will deal 600% elemental damage and 600% physical damage.|
Weapons - craftable
Schematics are usually better than obtainable counterparts. However, you need good materials for that.
|1||Prismatic Greataxe Schematic||One of the more overpowered weapons that deal additional elemental damage together with Physical damage. Perfect for Iron Bull.|
|2||Chromatic Greatsword Schematic||One of the more overpowered weapons. However, the schematic can only be obtained in Trespasser DLC. Similar to Prismatic Greataxe Schematic|
|3||Axe of the Dragon Hunter Schematic||Has large Leather offensive slots, and can be easily obtained in Black Emporium|
Armors - obtainable
Unfortunately, there are not many options for obtainable armors that provide offensive bonuses
|1||The Skin That Stalks||Obtainable only in the Trespasser DLC. Boosts Critical Damage, Critical Chance, and Attack.|
|3||Revered Defender Armor||Abilities cost 10% less stamina with this armor. Moreover, it is perfect if you want Iron Bull to have maximum survivability|
|4||Masterwork Battlemaster Armor||Gives bonus stamina, which allows using more abilities|
|5||Armor of the Knights-Divine||Abilities cost 7.5% less stamina. Moreover, gives bonus defensive stats.|
Armors - craftable
Sadly there are not too many armors that you can craft to give a lot of offensive options. Your main priority is to either get Leather or Metal utility slots
|1||The Skin That Strikes Schematic||This medium armor can be worn by anyone and it has leather utility slots. This means it can boost either critical chance or critical damage.|
|2||Revered Defender Armor Schematic||A decent schematic that gives a large metal utility slot. However, you will need some luck to get it in The Descent DLC. This should be picked if you wish to have a higher armor value.|
|4||Battlemaster Armor Schematic||Great tier 3 schematic that you can get in Hissing Wastes. It also comes with Upgrade slots.|
Helmets - obtainable
|1||Cretahl Vitaar||The best Vitaar for this build as it provides the largest critical chance bonus. Moreover gives +9% to attack and increases maximum health.|
|2||Arishok's Vitaar||Another good Vitaar. Unfortunately, it is quite time-consuming to obtain this one, due to the need of collecting all shards. However, it is the only unique Vitaar in the base game (without any DLCs)|
|3||Keen Felandris Vitaar||This Vitaar is a decent choice for Iron Bull as it gives a 10.5% critical chance increase|
|4||Vitaar of the Dragon Hunter||This Vitaar requires Jaws of Hakkon DLC.|
Helmets - craftable
|1||Dread Schematic||Provides metal utility slots. Good for boosting constitution or strength attributes. However, I recommend the obtainable ones for better offensive stats.|
|-||Amulet of Power||Gives Iron Bull a single ability point. It is consumed once you use it.|
|1||Enhanced Amulet of Barrier||This is my recommended Amulet for Iron Bull. It will allow the build to survive in most of the fights. If you feel safe enough look at the second option to get additional stamina regeneration|
|2||Amulet of Death Syphon||This amulet will give stamina and hp regeneration after each enemy that dies nearby. Quite good as you will be in the front lines and constantly use abilities|
|3||Amulet of the Rogue||Use this amulet to increase Iron Bull's Critical Damage and critical rate in the late game|
|4||Superb Amulet of Cunning||This amulet will give a bonus critical chance.|
|1||The Bind That Guides||Top tier Belt, unfortunately only available in Trespasser DLC. Boosts Critical Chance by 10%|
|2||Superb Belt of Health||Great belt if you need survivability gives +200 Maximum Health|
|3||Belt of Life||This belt gives +100 Maximum Health.|
|1||Superb Ring of Life-Drain||This ring will drain HP from dying enemies. I think it is a safe option to use for Iron Bull. Of course, try out the Rings below for more offensive options.|
|2||The Hand That Cuts||You only obtain this ring in Trespasser DLC. However, it gives a +20% Critical Damage bonus|
|3||Ring of Slicing||The rings boost critical damage by 10% and critical chance by 5%. It is one of the best rings for this build|
|4||Superb Ring of Critical Chance||Gives a +10% critical chance.|
Iron Bull Tactics and behaviors
Iron Bull tactics are a bit complex and it is important that you read them. Reaver specialization has many weaknesses. So I will explain how the Tactics selection will boost Iron Bull damage and survivability.
So let us go through the details. You should disable these skills:
- Block and Slash
- Grappling Chain
- Mighty Blow - Pommel Strike is a worthy substitute and much faster
- Ring of Pain - this ability does drain too much stamina
- Challenge - we do not want to mess with the main Tank AI.
Set these abilities to Preferred:
- Devour - this ability will restore your Hp and also deal decent damage. However, if you take Dragon-Rage upgrade Leashed Fury I would then set it to Active
- Charging Bull - we want it to be used as much as possible. It will generate Guard but also your next ability will not cost any stamina
- Dragon-Rage (optional) - once you are at the late game and have a Health Recovery stat boost or you have taken Leashed Fury upgrade. Otherwise Iron Bull will tear through HP too fast. However, with this, your DPS will increase drastically
These abilities should be set to active:
- Dragon-Rage - if Iron Bull dies too often or you did not take Leashed Fury upgrade set this to active to maintain your HP.
- Horn of Valor - it should be used from time to time
- Pommel Strike - let AI decide the best time to use this ability
For behaviors here is what I recommend:
- Mana/Stamina % reserve - 0%
- Targeting Behavior - follow the tank
Thank you for reading this post about the in-depth build on Iron Bull. He is quite hard to pull off correctly. However, I think with these skill allocations and tactics suggestions you should have no problems with Iron Bull on Dragon Age Inquisition.
Feel free to leave any comments below!